28 February 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Egg Post Production talks Sound & Colour in Box Office hit ‘Cardboard Gangsters’ with IFTN
30 Jun 2017 : Katie McNeice
Mark O’Connor’s gritty feature film began playing to Irish audience in cinemas from June 16th and looks set to be one of the best performing Irish releases this year.

To date it has ranked higher in weekly takings than the likes of ‘Churchill’, the latest ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and the longer running ‘Baywatch’ and ‘The Mummy’.

Following up on our interview with O’Connor and leading man and co-writer John Connors (linked below), we’re taking a look at the talent behind the sound and colour on the finished film, achieved by Aza Hand and Nik Panteris.

‘Cardboard Gangsters’ was produced for Stalker Films and Five Knight Films in association with Filmbase and with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production and TV3 and is distributed by Wildcard Distribution.

IFTN: What were your first steps in getting involved with the project, and your first impressions when you saw the work?

Nik: “I got involved in the project during the camera tests. Mark O’Connor the director and Michael Lavelle the DoP both had a very clear idea on what they wanted to achieve visually. This is always a great starting point for me as a colourist as I can jump straight into getting an initial look for the key scenes. From there we can build upon these scenes and collaborate on the overall look that sets the mood for the film.”

Aza: “I first got involved in the film when it was in the early stages of the final cut here at Egg. I really enjoyed it from the get go, it felt so authentic and it was so full of colourful and interesting characters. I haven’t seen an Irish film about Dublin that felt so real in a while.”

IFTN: Aza, what were the demands of Sound Design on this project like, in comparison to other Irish films you've worked on recently, like 'Without Name' or 'I Am Not a Serial Killer'?

Aza: “‘Without Name’ and ‘I Am Not A Serial Killer” are both films that deal with the supernatural. Both films provided amazing opportunities for experimental and abstract concepts in sound design. ‘Cardboard Gangsters’ called for a more subtle design. The concentration was always on the sense of place, establishing realistic atmospheres in Darndale... scramblers, choppers, sirens, 747’s taking off from the nearby airport, and kids screaming and playing in the street. The echo of kid’s messing in the street was very evocative for me, and we used it as a key element to convey the sense of a loss of innocence when Jay’s world begins to unravel.”

IFTN: Nik, talk me through the look and feel of Cardboard Gangsters from your perspective, as the Colourist? Again how did this compare to your previous work?

Nik: “There were plenty of references of films and photography stills from the classic gangster films from the 70’s and 80’s that inspired the look of the film. I drew on these references to create a more contemporary look for the film that is authentic to Darndale. The characters in the film are so real it was important to carry that rawness through to the final look of the film. I used the colour and contrast to underline these qualities and thankfully the lighting direction from Michael lavelle helped me to accentuate this.

“Music was a very strong element of the film and by using Irish hip hop artists this grounded the characters in a world that was believable and authentic. The grade had to then complement this by using heavily saturated colours in the club scenes and the drug scenes in the apartment. We treated the flashback scenes where we see the guys as young kids and with a polaroid look .This added an ethereal quality to the scenes and helped the audience understand them as flashbacks.”

IFTN: What was the timeline line for each of you, working on the project, and who did you collaborate with?

Nik: “I had roughly a week of grade time to work with Mark O’Connor, Michael Lavelle and Richard Bolger of Five Knight Films. It was a great experience working with them and I appreciated the fact that they all had a very clear idea of what they wanted but at the same time were very open to my creative input.”

Aza: “We had roughly six weeks sound editing and a week to final mix. I collaborated closely with Mark and Richard throughout this time. We would meet frequently and I would show them key elements in the soundtrack so we could discuss them early on. I also worked closely with my sound team here at EGG and Sound Supervisor Patrick Drummond who actually designed ‘Boyz In Da Hood’ which Mark would consider a huge influence on this film.”

IFTN: What has it been like to see such a hugely positive response come in from audiences and festival goers on the film?

Nik: “It’s great to see it do so well. We knew the film had something special in-house so it’s great to see it being so well received. It proves that there is an audience and more importantly a hunger for this kind of film.”

Aza: “I was delighted to see it do well and especially in the cinema, it’s really been created with the big screen in mind and it’s a hugely positive step for a small Irish film to garner such a large homegrown audience.”

IFTN: What are you both working on now and what will we next see in cinemas?

Nik: “There is lots in the pipeline actually. We will start full post on ‘Don’t Let Go’ for Wide Eye Films, ‘Damo & Ivor’ the movie for Parallel Films,’Float Like A Butterfly’ and ‘Cellar Door’ for Samson films in the coming months. We will be working Ripple World Pictures and TW Films on their feature ‘Highway’ shooting in New Mexico in the coming months. Some really exciting stuff to get our teeth into. We just finished full post for ‘Nowhere Fast’ which is a new six-part comedy series for RTÉ and BBC Directed by Simon Gibney for Deadpan Pictures and about to kick off another Factual TV series ‘Trauma’ for Independent Pictures”

Aza: “I’m working on a really interesting film ‘Muse’ by Jaume Balaguero, produced by Fantastic Films. There are several other exciting features coming up that are top secret so unfortunately I can’t mention. Keep an eye out on our website for more news on these.”

Watch our interview with John Connors & Mark O’Connor
Visit Egg Post Production Online

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